Mental health is an important part of our overall health. This May is mental health awareness month. It is a great time to be sure you are taking care of your own mental health.
According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, "For 2022’s Mental Health Awareness Month, NAMI will amplify the message of “Together for Mental Health.” We will use this time to bring our voices together to advocate for mental health and access to care through NAMI’s blog, personal stories, videos, digital toolkits, social media engagements and national events."
The more we bring awareness to mental health issues in society, we can help those with mental health issues to feel less stigmatized and more accepted.
Mental health is an important issue to me because I have mental health conditions myself. I have Anxiety, Depression and PTSD, and I know how debilitating it can be to live with these conditions when not properly treated.
The theme for this year's Mental Health Awareness Month, according to Mental Health America, "is "Back to Basics." Our goal is to provide foundational knowledge about mental health & mental health conditions and information about what people can do if their mental health is a cause for concern."
Mental Health Awareness Month
During the month of May, many organizations help to raise awareness of mental health issues in our society.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, "The origins of Mental Health Awareness Month date back to 1949 when Mental Health America (then known as the National Association for Mental Health) first organized an observance in May as a way to raise awareness and erase the stigma attached to mental illness."
By bringing awareness to mental health issues that many people suffer, we can help to break the stigma associated with mental health disorders, and treat people with mental health conditions with the same compassion that we treat people with other health conditions.
Mental health issues are more common than you think. According to the Mental Health Foundation,
1 in 5 adults live with a mental illness
Almost 1 in 25 adults live with a serious mental illness
50% of chronic mental illness start before 14 years of age
75% of chronic mental illness start by age 24
Just over 10 million people over the age of 18 have more than 1 addiction or mental health disorder
Looking at these statistics, you can see just how prevalent mental health disorders are. When left untreated, they can lead to serious consequences, such as suicide attempts. By raising awareness of mental health in general, we can help to ensure that people receive proper treatment for mental health issues.
Even though mental healthcare has made strides in recent years, there is still a long way to go. People with mental health issues are still stigmatized in society.
Social stigma can stop people from seeking help for their mental health issues, because they don't want to face discrimination or be socially outcast. This means that many people who are needing help don't seek it out at all.
Working to break the stigma against mental health issues is an important facet of Mental Health Awareness Month. Working to normalize mental health issues can go a long ways toward hope and healing for many people.
According to Psychiatry,
Stigma and discrimination can contribute to worsening symptoms and reduced likelihood of getting treatment. A recent extensive review of research found that self-stigma leads to negative effects on recovery among people diagnosed with severe mental illnesses. Effects can include:
increased psychiatric symptoms
difficulties with social relationships
reduced likelihood of staying with treatment
more difficulties at work
By working to break the stigma against mental health issues and speaking up on these topics, we can help to be part of a solution on a societal level. You can do this by speaking up about mental health issues, sharing information about Mental Health Awareness Month on your social media, and talking to friends and families about mental health issues in society.
Coping With Mental Illness
When you are coping with a mental illness, life can feel overwhelming. I know that when I am really depressed, it can be a struggle just to get out of bed.
However, there is hope.
You don't have to struggle alone if you have a mental illness. Speaking up about the way that you are feeling is the first step toward getting help. You can begin by talking to a friend, family member, school counselor, or a calling a crisis line.
If you, or anyone you know may be considering suicide, please call a crisis line right away.
You will talk to a counselor to walk you through the crisis, and they can also provide local referrals.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) is accessible nationwide by dialing 800-273-TALK (8255) in the US.
If you have a mental health condition like I do, therapy is also very helpful. Here are some tips to finding a therapist. It can be quite a process to get into therapy in the US, so I have provided a step by step guide based on my experience.
Once you get into therapy, you can do many different types of talk therapy, take medications, or combine the two. You will most likely talk to a Psychiatrist or Psychologist, and get a treatment plan to learn coping skills.
Therapy was really a game-changer for me, and I learned quite a lot about how to cope with my mental health issues on a day to day basis.
You can read more about Mental Health Awareness and related topics on the blog.
For additional resources to help with mental health for yourself or someone you love, you can check out these additional sites.